To Jesse Appleton

    Biddeford        20 October 1816

    Dear Sir

    This is the first moment of leisure I could embrace to acknowledge the receipt of your excellent address, delivered before the Massachusetts Society for Suppressing intemperance,1 which you were so obliging as to send me while I was holding the Court at Augusta; I have read it, several times, with great pleasure—and intire approbation of every part of it. I could but regret that it did not reach me a few days sooner, as I was desirous, having run my eye over it before I left home, to read some particular parts of it to the Grand-Jury in my charge to them at opening the Court. I enquired for it at Hallowell & Augusta, as soon as I arrived there, but no copy had then reached that place—

    Mr. Tappan furnished me with a number of the Recorder, containing some extracts from the discourse,2 several paragraphs of which served my purpose as far as they went; & I made the best use of them I could—The Grand Jury & audience were unusually attentive while I read them; & I had the satisfaction to learn they met very general approbation—

    At opening the Court, at Portland, I again made a more particular use of the discourse, & recited several whole paragraphs, & inter mixed such connecting sentences & observations as occured, & might give the whole a better effect on the mind—

    The subject is awfully important, if I may be allowed such an expression; and no means, within the circle of every mans power, whether Minister, Magistrate or private, ought to be left untried to arrest the dreadful evil produced among individuals & to the body politic, from the use of ardent Spirits.

    I must express a wish that like discourses were more frequently delivered from the pulpet on days of public worship; I am sense able they are generally, & more so of late than formerly, denominated moral discourses, in contradistinction to something, by way of more excellence, called evangelical—I have no dislike to the latter; but the former are too rare. Men are more practical than contemplative; every man knows enough to act, & the rule cannot too often be laid before him; while few are the better for any attempt they may make at contemplation on abstract subjects, that require a considerable process of reasoning to connect with particular actions.

    It was our wish to have called upon you, a little while, on our return from Augusta, but the anxiety we were in to get home on saturday eve, as I had to return to Portland on monday, connected with the consideration that you must have had all your leisure hours broken up by reason of occasional calls & customary duties, while the Convention was seting, these considerations seemed to forbid us that promised pleasure—

    Permit me to fill the remainder of my paper, with a subject I have no particular, or personal interest in, but as it is connected with the substantial property of the [Bowdoin] Colledge over which you preside, & which is connected with the best interests & honour of Maine & the real Glory of all its inhabitants, and which I shall be happy to see rising in importance as the district increases in numbers, wealth & reputation, either as a part of the existing Government, or as an independent State.

    I have lately been informed of my old friend Mr. Abbots resignation of his office in the Colledge, as Professor of Languages3—And I have not heard of a successer being appointed, or of any person being so much as talked of for that place—Excuse me, dear Sir, for mentioning to you the name of Mr. Amos J. Cook, precepter of the Academy at Fryeburg in the County of Oxford4—I believe he has had the charge of that School, for twelve or fourteen years—during which time I have been in the way of hearing much of the state of the Academy & occasionally to be in his company. But And tho I have been one of the Trustees from its formation, such have been my other public duties, it has never been in my power to attend any of their meetings—The general reputation of the Academy & his Administration stand very high with all I have ever heard speak of them. I believe, from what I have heard from others, better judges than myself, that he is an excellent Greek & Latin Schollar—that his delight is in the classics—From the opportunities I have had of forming a judgment, I should say, there are very few more correct english Schollars than himself. To read, teach the Classics, & General Grammer, & enjoy their beauties seem almost to bound his wishes. His character is amiable—his deportment calm, sedate & dignified; yet perfectly accessible by students—His age I think is not far from thirty six or thirty seven. I also have reason to believe his talent at Government is peculiarly happy—However, I am by no means unmindfull, that it is probable you may have a much more correct idea of Mr. Cook & his qualifications than I can pretend to, & that all I have suggested is useless—& to your knowledge & judgment I submit with pleasure.

    And with considerations of the highest respect I subscribe myself, dear Sir, your most obedient

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    ALS, Jesse Appleton Collection, MeB.